Rice’s Pharmacy Leads the Way


Rice’s Pharmacy has not only navigated the evolution of community-pharmacy but has thrived with their dedication to local patient care and practice transformation.

For more than half a century, Rice's Pharmacy, a CPESN Kentucky pharmacy located in Beaver Dam, has stood as a pillar of healthcare in their small community. With their forward-thinking mindset, Rice’s Pharmacy has not only navigated the evolution of community-pharmacy but has thrived with their dedication to local patient care and practice transformation.

David Figg, CEO, has been at the helm of Rice’s Pharmacy for 20 years, bringing his expertise to the forefront of this popular community pharmacy. Figg and his team have helped Rice's Pharmacy achieve operational efficiencies, harness technology for safety and efficiency, and elevate the role of pharmacy technicians by leveraging Flip the Pharmacy resources to spearhead transformative change in their pharmacy practice.

Achieve Operational Efficiencies

Recognizing the importance of optimizing workflow processes, Figg implemented a range of innovative strategies that revolutionized the way Rice’s Pharmacy operates. These changes led to enhanced productivity and more time to focus on patient care.

“In order to achieve operational efficiency, we had to streamline our operation. Having a workflow with clear delineation creates smoother transitions and minimizes confusion,” Figg shared. He started with a notable step to build a comprehensive workflow outline, also known as a standard operating procedure. The purpose of the outline was to identify the series of steps in which a prescription or service flowed through his pharmacy.

Figg took this approach further by introducing what he calls the ‘bucket system.’ Figg explained, “the bucket system provides a visual representation of the pharmacy workflow so that our staff can easily track the progress of any service, for any patient, at any given time. Simply put—you know where things are and how they are moving.” He emphasized the importance of finding and addressing bottlenecks in the workflow and suggested starting from the beginning. “It’s easy to tell where your bottleneck is,” he explained. “Start at step one in your operation and follow all of the steps, the one that is slower than all the rest is your bottleneck.”

By systematically analyzing each step, he was able to pinpoint the stage that caused the most significant delays, while also calling attention to stages that presented idle time, allowing for targeted improvements to maximize productivity and create more time for dedicated patient care and enhanced services.

Harness Technology for Safety and Efficiency

Rice's Pharmacy has emerged as an example of operational excellence and improved patient outcomes by leveraging technology and automation systems from RxSafe.

Figg said, “Rice's Pharmacy has successfully integrated three RxSafe 1800 machines into our operation and recently added a RxSafe RapidCardRx machine as well. They’ve been valuable to our growth and success.”

RxSafe is a sponsor for multiple Flip the Pharmacy teams. Funding from RxSafe has allowed other pharmacies to participate in the value practice transformation program. Additional funding is made possible by the Community Pharmacy Foundation, along with other national and team sponsors.

For Rice’s Pharmacy, their RxSafe 1800 machines have played a pivotal role in improving the pharmacy's workflow, inventory management processes, and overall patient safety. Particularly in terms of streamlining the process of searching, retrieving, dispensing and filling, and increased accuracy.

Prior to integrating this technology into their workflow, Figg recalls the chaos that most working in community pharmacy can understand. The scene of pharmacy technicians repeatedly bouncing between the bays and tackling the challenges of manually retrieving medication stock bottles for dispensing. He shared, “nearly 80% of the time it takes to fill a prescription is the time it takes for my staff to find the medication. It’s not the counting process.”

With the RxSafe 1800, the time-consuming process to locate medications has been eliminated. “By the time our technicians are ready to find a medication, it is readily available, right there waiting for them,” said Figg. “Plus, the system pulls stock bottles by barcode, ensuring the NDC is correct and eliminating errors.”

Thanks to the enhanced efficiency and accuracy brought about by RxSafe technology, Rice’s Pharmacy has reduced the number of technicians required for dispensing from 5 to 2. As a result, they were able to reallocate their resources and allow the other 3 technicians to focus on additional growth areas for the pharmacy, including the implementation of new services.

Figg is quick not to forget the additional benefit of RxSafe 1800 machines freeing up valuable pharmacy space. Notably, these machines effectively hold up to 5400 medication stock bottles within a 6x6 square foot space.

Rice's Pharmacy serves as an example of how leveraging advanced technology, such as the RxSafe machines, can lead to transformative improvements in practice efficiency, patient care, and overall pharmacy performance.

Leverage Flip the Pharmacy Resources and Elevate the Role of Pharmacy Technicians and Support Staff

After participating in Cohort 1 of the Flip the Pharmacy program, Rice’s Pharmacy continues in the initiative. Pharmacies work to transform their practice beyond moment-in-time, prescription- level models toward longitudinal, patient-level care processes and value-based models.

Figg’s dedication to advancing the profession extends beyond his own pharmacy. As a CPESN Beacon, he serves on the Pharmacy Services Support Staff (PS3) expert council. This role allows him to share his knowledge and expertise with other pharmacies, contributing to the growth and development of pharmacy technicians and the profession as a whole.

Pharmacies looking to elevate their pharmacy services support staff, grow their medication synchronization program, and learn best practices from other pharmacies can participate in weekly Flip the Pharmacy Workflow Wednesdays webinars.

Additionally, Figg encourages pharmacy leaders to:

  • optimize use of free Flip the Pharmacy resources,
  • encourage pharmacy technicians (and other staff) to participate in PS3, and
  • maximize the number of patients on Medication Synchronization.

The Flip the Pharmacy program has over 1400 community pharmacies actively engaged in practice transformation, which are supported by over 541 pharmacy coaches from 74 local Flip the Pharmacy teams. To learn more, please visit www.flipthepharmacy.com, Flip the Pharmacy resources are free for all community pharmacies to access.

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